Profits at European companies are trailing analyst estimates by the most in at least five years, dragged down by manufacturing shares that had been forecast to lead a rally in the second half of the year.
About 53 percent of companies in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index that have reported earnings since July 11 missed analysts’ projections. That’s the most in data compiled by Bloomberg since 2006. The benchmark gauge lost 3.1 percent in the period, the largest decline to start an earnings season since April 2010.
Investors have been relying on manufacturers in Germany and Scandinavia to buoy stocks after Europe’s debt crisis forced Greece to accept a second bailout and cut projections for bank earnings. As commodities costs rise and currencies in Switzerland and the Nordic region strengthen, companies from Atlas Copco AB in Stockholm to Paris-based PSA Peugeot Citroen and Ludwigshafen, Germany-based BASF SE have disappointed, sending their shares down more than 5 percent.
“We were coming into an earnings season where expectations were quite high,” said Ben Ritchie, an investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management in London, which oversees $290 billion. “When you look into financials, results have been weak but in line with estimates. Investors have been more optimistic about certain areas within the industrial space and where they have disappointed, shares have reacted strongly.”